The Limpid Stream(Der helle Bach / The Bright Stream) op. 39 - Suite op. 39a (1934-35)
Boosey & Hawkes / Sikorski
1.Waltz 2.Russian Popular Dance 3.Galop 4.Adagio 5.Pizzicato Allegretto
Shostakovich’s third and final ballet – and his second project with the great choreographer Lopukhov - is more conventional and traditionally ‘balletic’ than his first two. By the time he wrote it, Stalin’s repressive doctrines of Socialist-Realism were beginning to bite and the plot has little satire and is relatively conventional: a group of ballet-dancers have been sent into the countryside to bring sophisticated metropolitan entertainment to a successful new Soviet Collective Farm. After some complicated amorous intrigues, it turns out that the honest country-bumpkins have more to teach the city-folk than the other way round.
The music abounds in light and catchy melodies and dance-rhythms to get the foot tapping -Shostakovich at his most fluent and easily accessible. The composer compiled an orchestral suite from the ballet in 1945, the music also appearing in differing versions and orchestrations in Ballet Suites Nos.1-3.
Note by Gerard McBurney